January 18, 2017 by Stephen Bentley
Hyperbole: Word Wednesday (Improve Your Word Power)
Hyperbole is a word that is in the top 1% of “look-ups” according to Merriam-Webster.
That comes as no surprise to me as it is a word often heard but many don’t know its meaning. I find the “Did You Know” part of the M-W entry interesting.
noun hy·per·bo·le \hī-ˈpər-bə-(ˌ)lē\
Popularity: Top 1% of lookups
: extravagant exaggeration (as “mile-high ice-cream cones”)
hyperbolistplay \hī-ˈpər-bə-list\ noun
Examples in a sentence
Four decades later we’re all blabbermouths, adrift on a sea of hyperbole, shouting to be heard. —Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated, 1 Apr. 2002
… balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, New York Times Book Review, 18 May 1997
Even if we discount the hyperbole evident in such accounts, they were far from inventions. —Lawrence W. Levine, The Unpredictable Past, 1993
<“enough food to feed a whole army” is a common example of hyperbole>
Did You Know?
In the 5th century B.C. there was a rabble-rousing Athenian, a politician named Hyperbolus, who often made exaggerated promises and claims that whipped people into a frenzy. But even though it sounds appropriate, Hyperbolus’ name did not play a role in the development of the modern English word hyperbole. That noun does come to us from Greek (by way of Latin), but from the Greek verb hyperballein, meaning “to exceed,” not from the name of the Athenian demagogue.
Origin and Etymology of hyperbole
Latin, from Greek hyperbolē excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw
First Known Use: 15th century
There you have it. Hyperbole is used every day without folks knowing it. It’s part of story telling! 🙂
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It’s useful too even if you don’t plan to write a book.
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